Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment

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Routledge, Jul 24, 2013 - Law - 272 pages

Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment examines criminal sentencing courts’ changing characterisations of Indigenous peoples’ identity, culture and postcolonial status. Focusing largely on Australian Indigenous peoples, but drawing also on the Canadian experiences, Thalia Anthony critically analyses how the judiciary have interpreted Indigenous difference. Through an analysis of Indigenous sentencing remarks over a fifty year period in a number of jurisdictions, the book demonstrates how judicial discretion is moulded to dominant white assumptions about Indigeneity. More specifically, Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment shows how the increasing demonisation of Indigenous criminality and culture in sentencing has turned earlier ‘gains’ in the legal recognition of Indigenous peoples on their head. The recognition of Indigenous difference is thereby revealed as a pliable concept that is just as likely to remove concessions as it is to grant them. Indigenous People, Crime and Punishment suggests that Indigenous justice requires a two-way recognition process where Indigenous people and legal systems are afforded greater control in sentencing, dispute resolution and Indigenous healing.


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1 Introduction to Indigenous representations in criminal sentencing
2 Historicizing colonial and postcolonial Indigenous crime and punishment
3 Decolonizing Indigenous crime statistics
4 Sentencing away culture and customary marriage
5 Traditional punishment in the new punitiveness
6 Sentencing anxieties over degenerates drunks and criminals
7 Sentencing Indigenous rioters as if the racism never occurred
transforming Indigenous recognition

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About the author (2013)

Thalia Anthony is a Senior Lecturer in Law at the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Her research specialises in criminal justice, Indigenous legal issues and the laws of colonisation. She has published widely on legal remedies for Indigenous people in Australia and internationally, as well as extra-legal alternative avenues for justice. Thalia’s methodology combines analysis of the legal archive with fieldwork in Northern Territory Indigenous communities.

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